Now, if you can get over my sarcasm,and explain how is low light, tons of ferts, way high CO2 and big flow going to make the perfect manageable planted tank. It appears that Amano could have taken a completely wrong approach to whatever he does.
I'm not naysaying a new idea (FYI - In the US, we call those people "haters"). People have been growing plants in low tech aquariums since long before any of us were born. I'm asking why step backward instead of forward? We do
need new ideas. Better canister filters, LED lighting, better ways to regulate CO2, lower touch way to add ferts. To me, this is the future of the hobby.
Better question - how would our perception of Amano be different had he stuck with low tech? Prior to his work (and many others) in pioneering what we consider modern methods of nutrient supplementation, aquascaping barely existed as we define it now. Keeping plants alive and fighting off algae seemed to be enough of a challenge up until the past 10-15 years.
Success can only be defined by a goal. If the goal is a beautiful display (loose APC standards - lush growth, no obvious deficiencies, minimal algae), I am of the opinion that skipping out on equipment often creates more issues than it solves. There's room for everyone on the spectrum, but saying low tech can be just as beautiful as high tech is an overstatement if we're speaking in generalities.
I understand the desire for simplicity as it's human nature. Our tolerance for the time and financial burden is cyclical, and eventually, we all look for ways to cut back on the imprint this hobby has on our lives. I just paid a boatload of money to have TPN+ shipped from the UK. Saves me all of 5 seconds, but everything in one bottle
is so intrinsically appealing.
Ernie, does "finding a handful of beautiful "low tech tanks doesn't speak to the other 99% which are... up for debate" mean that all high-tech tanks are up to the standards of Amano or Knott? On reflection, I think you will agree that the ratio of "beautiful" to "debatable" tanks is roughly the same for both high and low tech methods. Technology does not guarantee beauty.
Can a low tech display be beautiful? Sure. I also know that many photographers can snap great photos using any decade old point and shoot, but that doesn't mean I'm trading in the DSLR. For me, it still provides the most effective path to reach my goal.
There are no absolutes in subjective judging, but try this - Find 50 or 100 photos of your all time favorite planted aquariums. Take the list and then tally up the ones that you consider to be low tech. For me, there are only a few.
When you consider that there are exponentially more low tech tanks out there than high tech ones but very few which catch our attention, how can you estimate equal ratios of hot/not?